The Honda Civic Type R got a major makeover for 2023. The automaker toned down the overwrought exterior of the previous-generation FK8 Type R, giving the new FL5 version a more mature appearance. The big wing, functional aero, and triple tailpipes are still clear indicators that this Civic means business on the track, but Honda’s busy hands changed little with the powertrain. 

Both Civic Type Rs use Honda’s turbocharged 2.0-liter K20C1 four-cylinder engine. In the new car, it produces 315 horsepower (231 kilowatts) and 310 pound-feet (420 Newton-meters) of torque. It makes 306 hp (228 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque in the old one. The automaker made incremental changes to the powertrain and other upgrades to eke out more power. It’s not a sizable difference in output, but the new one technically packs more punch. Six-speed manual gearboxes send the power to the front wheels on both, but how do they compare on the track?

Gallery: 2023 Honda Civic Type R: First Drive

A new video from UK’s AutoTrader YouTube channel decided to find out, pitting the pair through a couple of drag races. In the first race, the new Civic Type R got a better start off the line. It maintained and increased its lead to a car length before crossing the finish line first. While Honda didn’t make significant changes to the powertrain, it did reveal that it improved the transmission to manage the power better. It shows.

A rolling race eliminated the new Civic’s advantage, putting the two on even footing, and the results were instant. When the race started, the two Civics stayed side-by-side, crossing the finish line at the same time. The FL5 might make a tad more power, but it is heavier – and more expensive – than the version it replaced. 

The 2023 Honda Civic Type R went on sale in the US late last year, and it’s not cheap. It has a starting price of $44,390 (price includes the $1,095 destination charge) at the moment, which has ticked upward since it first went on sale. The new Type R might not look like the previous-generation model but offers similar performance.

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